Vail Daily editorial: Fisher for commissioner |

Vail Daily editorial: Fisher for commissioner

Vail Daily editorial board
Vail, CO Colorado

The race for Eagle County commissioner just might be the most important decision you make as a voter this year.

Sure, the national fervor – Obamacare, the rise of the Tea Party, Afghanistan and economic disorder – takes the spotlight.

But home is where the heart of all that, along with our local challenges, comes to roost.

And three county commissioners wield the most political influence of all over our daily lives.

So you can argue – and we do – that the biggest decision for Eagle County voters is not for U.S. senator or state governor but for humble county commissioner.

We see this choice as a close call between incumbent Democrat Sara Fisher and Republican challenger Claudia Alexander.

Today, three Democrats cope with a much-changed world from when they were first elected. The down economy, concern about lost jobs and need for fiscal discipline trump the issues of rapid growth that dominated the better part of two decades before 2009 struck.

The Board of County Commissioners has long since scaled back in child-care funding, and looking with 20/20 hindsight maybe stretched too far to try to make the Stratton Flats affordable-housing development in Gypsum work, along with going overboard in much-needed renovations and expansion of the Justice Center. We think these investments will prove prudent in history even if the timing of the Great Recession has exposed them to easy criticism.

Certainly what few developers who have the guts to seek approval for projects today are finding a much chillier reception with the commissioners than in the go-go past. And jobs and other economic boosters have become bigger immediate issues than “public benefits,” green regs, affordable housing and the like.

It’s an interesting time. Is a different board makeup required to deal with these changes?

The suddenness of the downturn makes what might have been very smart decisions for their time moot, at least in the short term.

It’s the decisions ahead that matter. Who will best contribute to improving – or at least avoiding further degradation in – Eagle County’s quality of life while continuing with the fiscal discipline the county has had to exercise?

Alexander offers a different outlook, thought process and voice on a board now made up of all Democrats. However nonpartisan we like to paint the issues a county board faces, the fact is that Republicans and Democrats tend to have very different philosophies and approaches to governance. And this board certainly has a need for some good Republican thinking.

But does this need make Alexander the best choice? In the end, we believe Fisher’s long experience, knowledge and commitment to and understanding of Eagle County lift her over Alexander despite our concerns about the political makeup and diversity of viewpoints on the board.

Alexander has some good ideas, to be sure. But her understanding of a county she’s lived in for a few years is incomplete. Her campaign strained to find fault in the board and Fisher, given the depth of the sudden downturn, and Alexander never offered a compelling vision of a better way she’d lead.

A vote for Alexander will not damage the county. We believe she would serve competently and well.

But this is about making the best of the available choices.

That would be Sara Fisher.

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